Author's Note: Five stanzas to wrap things up, but afterwards I indulge myself with some explanations of what's been going on inside my head as I worked on this. (Oh, stop groaning! You don't have to read that part if you don't want to!)
In my brain I somehow doubted whether Beast Boy, when he spouted
Trick questions to get permission had guessed there was a curse at all.
I'd guess he thought her endless gruff repeating of the same rebuff
Was now a habit strong enough to let him try her bluff to call,
By asking if she objected to friendly kissing in the hall—
And prayed she'd say: Not at all?
Now he said, "You should know, Raven, that a friend has been so craven
As to spy upon our confab as we stood here in this hall.
Earlier I heard him working—then all was quiet; he was shirking
His repairs and just plain lurking right behind that bathroom wall.
Do you see that little glitter, in that new hole, low in the wall?
Cyborg's spycam saw it all!"
My metal nails I was chewing, for I feared what might be brewing
In Raven's head if my viewing of their smooching, from this shower stall,
Struck her as a sin malicious that required something vicious
To ensure it would not recur after she had made me crawl.
("Should I charge out through the doorway and go racing down the hall?
Or just smash right through a wall?")
But my presence now dismissing, she said, "That'll wait; I've been missing
Months and months of proper kissing, which the pesky curse did forestall.
So for lost time let's start making up until the dawn is breaking—
Did I mention you'll be taking me to that silly Costume Ball?
But later I will find Cyborg and then I'll really make him squall!"
(Did he argue? Not at all.)
And those lovebirds still are kissing, still are kissing, still are kissing,
In that quiet corridor near the bathroom with the leaky stall;
Still are snuggling—so I gather from the fact that I don't have her
Chasing me cross-country; rather, she must still be in that hall.
If I get a thousand-mile lead, I may survive till grudges pall.
So now I flee—wouldn't y'all?
Author's Note: Late last year I happened to be reading something modelled on the meter of "The Raven"—not on this site, and it had nothing to do with the Teen Titans—and suddenly I started thinking, "Hey, I wonder if I could do that sort of thing and make it work!" Then I had to choose a subject, and somehow it came to me that it would be kind of cute to have one of the characters in my version be "Raven" of the Teen Titans, thus allowing me to use her name as part of the refrain at the end of several of the stanzas, in a conscious tribute to Poe's version. The rest of it followed from there—although it took awhile for me to decide what three-syllable discouraging reply she would be spouting at regular intervals, since I didn't want to imitate Poe too closely—yet I needed something similar in meaning which would leave me with plenty of possible rhymes to work into each stanza! Frankly, I rarely try to write poetry—but every once in awhile I like to test myself that way. All I can say is: Thank goodness for rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses!
I've been very reluctant to answer any reviews that came in on earlier installments of this poem, because I was afraid of tipping my hand (or making any foolish promises I might break later, for that matter)—by answering questions about where this was or wasn't going, for instance. And sending a PM just to say "I'm not going to tell you anything right now" seemed silly. Also, when I posted the first installment, I didn't think it would take nearly this long for me to wrap up the poem. However, I really did appreciate the way favorable reviews piled up on my audacious attempt to imitate the rhythm of Poe's immortal poem, and I now intend, over the next few days, to respond privately to at least some of those reviews—even if some of the people who commented on this in its early stages have probably forgotten what they said by now, and may be very surprised to hear from me after so long!
A few comments about the plot: Implied is the idea that Raven couldn't even tell her friends there was a curse on her, as well as being unable to say anything "positive" in response to anything resembling romantic overtures from a boy she secretly liked. (Actually, the curse may have extended to forcing a negative response from her regarding anything resembling romantic overtures from anyone at all, no matter how she felt about them—but since it seems no one except Beast Boy ever actually tried to beg her for a date during the months the curse was upon her, we'll never know for sure.)
Also implied, but only in these last few stanzas, is the following reconstruction of what was going on, from Beast Boy's point of view. He remembered hearing Cyborg using tools on the shower's plumbing earlier, and knew Cyborg must still be in there since he hadn't come out into the hall while Beast Boy was pacing back and forth, working up his courage—but when Raven suddenly came along and Beast Boy saw a chance to beg her for a date before he could lose his nerve again, he chose to take the risk of having his buddy overhear him getting shot down in flames by Raven (which must have seemed the most probable outcome). Of course Beast Boy didn't know they would end up smooching right outside the bathroom when he made the original decision. He also didn't immediately notice the tiny fiber-optic spycam appearing within a tiny hole in the wall during the odd conversation; he had other things on his mind by then.
After the first round of kissing, and after he caught his breath, his eyes spotted the lens peeking out of the tiny hole. Then it occurred to him that if he was going to pursue this relationship with a consistent policy of full disclosure as they went along, then Raven had a right to know they had a concealed audience. Beast Boy didn't mind too much having Cyborg see them kissing—he was probably a bit smug about it, if anything—but he figured that if Raven minded a great deal, and if she wanted to punish Cyborg for being a peeping tom, then Beast Boy would just wash his hands of the whole thing as her retribution fell upon the head of the sinner. It is very probable that he figured he still owed Cyborg some payback for some other prank we don't know about, anyway. And he knew Raven wouldn't really kill a teammate; she'd just terrify him for awhile to make sure he learned a valuable lesson about manners! Right? (Speaking of which: I went back and forth on whether Cyborg should use the word "survive" in the final stanza, because realistically he ought to know he won't die if Raven catches him . . . but I felt it suggests the state of panic he's in, more vividly than any other words I could think of for that line. I may have missed some "obvious" alternative.)
Incidentally, I've never been a diehard believer in the idea of a Beast Boy/Raven romantic relationship. I don't think there's any serious evidence in the series to support that idea. (But I don't scream in horror at the very suggestion that it might happen someday, either.) So I was actually a bit surprised when I found myself starting to draft out some stanzas for a poem about Beast Boy finally working up the courage to ask her on a regular date, but hey, I had to have someone asking her something that could be repeatedly countered with a depressing reply, until the someone finally figured out how to rephrase his questions in order to get a much more "positive" meaning from that same supposedly discouraging reply, didn't I?
(Whenever I reread "The Raven," I keep wanting the narrator to show that much imagination by posing new questions to which a response of "Nevermore" will be downright encouraging! Although I am aware that Poe later wrote in an essay that the narrator was basically indulging a masochistic streak by the end of the poem, as he kept bellowing questions which, based on past performance, he knew darn well the Raven was inevitably going to answer in the same way as before. I prefer my protagonists to at least try to achieve happy endings, instead of deliberately punishing themselves with sad ones they easily could have avoided.)